Transmitter Park’s tree collection grew by one this past weekend with the planting of a new willow tree close to the water.
“It looks like a high caliber sapling and is bigger than most new trees” said Steve Chesler, a committee member of Friends of WNYC Transmitter Park, a community-based volunteer group founded in 2016. Chesler also explained that “Willows are fast growing trees, adding three to four feet a year.” Park-goers can expect shade from the new Willow in 10 to 15 years.
The original tree that graced that location in Transmitter Park was 50 years old and there before the park itself. “It was beautiful and elegant,” said Chesler. He stated that the tree was “an integral part of the park” saying it framed the park from all angles. However, over the years, the original tree started weakening. It lost branches during storms in 2020 and fell over completely in 2021 when Hurricane Ida hit.
After the tree fell, Friends of Transmitter Park advocated strongly for a replacement, but the NYC Parks Department as a whole was inundated with repairs and removing trees all over the city. It took the Parks Department a while to getting around to replacing it. When they did, they decided on the willow tree.
New Love City, a yoga studio that hosted classes in Transmitter Park, offered to help. They sponsored the purchase and planting of the new willow tree. “It’s been in the works since November, and we are thrilled that it has finally been planted,” said Keela Williams, the owner of New Love City.
Williams explained that during the onset of the pandemic, New Love City hosted yoga classes outside in Transmitter Park next to the old willow tree. “Those classes were really special, allowing our community to continue to practice together during such a difficult time. Since that space means so much to us we wanted to give back somehow to the park,” said Williams.
“People are happy about it,” continued Chesler. “It’s the most liked post we ever had,” he said referring to Transmitter Park’s latest Instagram post about the Willow tree. Chesler also assured Greenpointers that “Willows are planted regularly along the waterfront” in response to a few comments on Instagram wondering if willows were appropriate for the area.
In addition to the new willow tree, half a dozen others trees have been planted over the past few years in Transmitter Park and working their way up to providing shade.
There are two new trees in the garden section, on the opposite side of the park from the new willow. One is a young magnolia and the other is a Virginia pine. An organization called Greening Greenpoint donated the Virginia pine during a symposium about indigenous people, which educated and engaged the public about Native American culture.
Greening Greenpoint was an organization formed to plant more trees and care of ones that existing ones. Their grant program ended a couple of years ago, but the last tree they planted was an oak in Transmitter Park in 2019.